Spike in drink-drive arrests in Essex during summer months

PUBLISHED: 17:32 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 17:32 12 July 2016

Gennie and Antony Powell

Gennie and Antony Powell

Archant

Almost 200 drivers have been arrested during the Essex Police summer anti-drink and drug-driving campaign – nearly double the number police charged in last year’s initiative.

Mike and Jill SimmonsMike and Jill Simmons

Between June 10 and July 10 the force arrested 197 people, compared to 102 last year.

Of those arrested, 40 were on suspicion of drug-driving and ten for failing to provide a specimen for analysis

Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager at Essex Police, said: “The results of this year’s campaign are worrying.

“For reasons I cannot understand, it is clear to see a number of irresponsible drivers are continuing to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

“The introduction of roadside drug testing kits means we are better equipped than ever to detect drug-drivers on the roads but sadly it seems some drivers are refusing to recognise drug-driving as a serious offence.

“Drug-driving risks and ruins lives in the same way that drink driving does. The penalties are the same and the consequences as far reaching.

“I hope the number of arrests made during the campaign serve as a wake-up call. Our officers are out there 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

“If you drink or drug drive, it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught and put before the courts.

“This campaign may have come to an end but that doesn’t mean our efforts to take drink and drug-drivers off the roads have.

“As a community we need to work together. If you know someone who regularly drink or drug drives, please do the right thing and pass on the information.

“If you call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 you won’t have to give your name, make a statement or appear in court. Any information you give will be passed on to our road policing officers and acted upon.

“Please do the right thing. Your call could help save a life.”

Nicola Foster, chairman of the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, added “These results show drink and drug-driving is still an issue on Essex roads.

“We will continue to tackle drink and drug-driving through enforcement and education.

“We continue to urge anyone not to drink and drug-drive or be a passenger to a drink or drug-driver.”

“Heart-wrenching film”

The families of two teenagers who died in a crash where the other driver was more than three-times the drink-drive limit and was under the influence of cocaine and cannabis backed this year’s campaign

Corran Powell, 21, and James Simmons, 18, died after the Volkswagen Polo they were travelling in together collided head-on with a Ford Fiesta on Braintree Road, Gosfield on December 7 2014.

The 30-year-old driver of the Fiesta also died and a post-mortem examination revealed the drink and drug levels.

Corran and James’ parents, Gennie and Antony Powell and Mike and Jill Simmons, agreed to talk openly on film in the hope it would prevent another family living with the devastation they experience every day.

Their message reached more than of 510,000 people on Facebook and 893,000 people on Twitter, with the video viewed in excess of 249,000 times.

Mr Pipe said: “This year two families torn apart by the actions of a driver high on a cocktail of drink and drugs pledged their support for our campaign and agreed to speak about the heartache they live with every day on film.

“The heart-wrenching film was viewed more than 249,000 times throughout the campaign yet still a number of drivers fail to listen and fail to consider the consequences when they get behind the wheel knowing they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”

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